Acumentis Regional Director, Wide Bay - Melissa Eilers shares stories of a recent trip to K'gari (Fraser Island) for a valuation job
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows– far from it.
In the property valuation industry, we’re often met with blank stares when we tell people what our job entails.
A day on the job as a property valuer can be so varied - visiting interesting places, meeting new people and seeing all sorts of things.
Today we hear from Melissa Eilers, Acumentis Regional Director, Wide Bay about what she does in a day’s work.
Mel, affectionately known as Mumma Mel in her local region has a passion for her craft, her community, and her team. She’s your go-to human when life isn’t being too kind, always welcoming others and offering kindness and support.
On this day Mel was travelling to the picturesque K'gari also known as Fraser Island to undertake a property valuation. Let’s hear from her how the day unfolded.
Mel, can you set the scene about your recent valuation job on Fraser Island.
Well, it was a few days prior to the devastating flooding in Southeast Qld and NSW so the region in and around Harvey Bay was wet and stormy. Kate in our team was trying to book the inspection and was in contact with the local helicopter operators to see if we could still fly into Fraser to get access to the property.
On the day of the valuation, I woke to blue skies and thought we were all set. That was until we were in the air and approaching Fraser. Then things changed quickly.
The blue skies turned to squalling storms, we were flying with zero visibility, it was terrifying!
My ever-reliant helicopter pilot – Nathan, kept up the lighthearted banter sensing my terror. Shortly we landed safely.
“How was that?” Nathan asked
“I've never been so glad to be on the ground. I nearly peed my pants up there, Nathan.” I said.
After sharing a relieved laugh, I was so glad to be in the safe hands of Nathan from Great Ocean Helicopters.
He’s an absolute professional. He and Aimee are a young couple running a great local business. We use them a lot. They have great knowledge of the island, they'll go anywhere, they'll do anything.
We get up in the air and Nathan will always ask if I need more aerial photos or whether we needed to go somewhere specific on the island for other aerial property photos for the job. He's just so good, so reliable.
Do they understand what you do in detail?
Not quite. He thinks I am on a junket! In saying that, he will deliver on whatever I need to complete my job well and I wouldn’t go anywhere else or trust anyone else to fly me to my jobs, unless Nathan tries to kill me again while making fun of me especially when I am terrified when flying blind in stormy weather conditions!
So going back to the day, what happened next?
We landed on Fraser safely – thank god. Wal a real estate agent from Wal Pavey Real Estate had requested the valuation and organized a colleague of his on the island to escort me to the property. I have a strong working relationship with Wal, if he can’t come with me for the valuation, he always organises someone to drive me to the property and pays them in island money (read a bottle of wine) to fill in for him. True to form, on this trip too he had a colleague of his who despite having a recent knee and hip replacement came, picked me up from the helicopter and took me to the property to help me get my job done.
The island is predominantly visited by tourists with a small permanent population base. But it is the people here who make it a special place. Tourists and residents help each other as their own. Getting bogged or stuck on the island is a regular occurrence, so everyone lends a hand to help anytime. With sales on the island, it is the permanent residents who can give you some intel as information sharing happens privately, in conversation. There are no photos on the net, no data that you can find anywhere, you have to respect the confidentiality concerns of the locals so key relationships is what helps us to do our jobs well, especially in remote locations like Fraser.
Do you think getting to remote locations like your recent trip to Fraser is when you check out off technology, engage more with the locals for your job without being distracted, which leads to forming some key relationships?
Absolutely and it is great. On days like this recent one to Fraser, I don't take phone calls over there because you can't. Whoever you're talking to, can barely hear you on the phone- you don't get good enough service, so you can't concentrate, so it's not worth it.
It does help you just check out for a while, depending on how you do it. But the helicopter rides are a great treat. We use probably half a day or a morning to get to the site. But if you gotta do a barge and then a taxi and stuff, you lose a whole day. And I do get a bit grumpy at times because it's like I should be working. But I remind myself about how lucky we are that we get to experience life in different shades each day – you see beautiful landscapes, meet some amazing, interesting people, sometimes get attacked by kookaburras, sometimes get chased by a duck – all in a day of a life of a valuer.
The life of a valuer is far from dull!
There is so much to being a valuer – if there was one piece of advice you would want to give the next generation valuer – what would that be?
Give the client your time, an extra 5 minutes of kindness and it will come back to you tenfold.
Aerial view of the beautiful Fraser Island
And that just sums up why you Mel is known as Mumma Mel – Mel we are grateful you are part of the Acumentis fabric and hope that this read inspires the next generation of valuers and brings a smile on our property professionals’ faces.